Google Maps as Social Commentary

I’m a little late to the party, but I’m loving this series of Google Maps inspired graphics from Christoph Niemann that oscillate between social commentary to pure whimsical imaginations:

Many more here!


No Middle Ground

Amit Gupta is calling it – “The laptop starts dying tomorrow”.

I’d agree with him too. Nobody around me buys a point-and-shoot digital cameras anymore – they’re all migrating to either pro-ish DSLRs, or perhaps quirky exotics like Lomo or Holga. The point-and-shoot just doesn’t have a place in competing for the consumer’s mind, because they don’t do any one thing particularly well, losing grounds in various aspects:

  • Quality: vs DSLRs;
  • Experience: vs Lomo, Holga, Polaroids
  • Portability: vs camera phones
  • Price: phone-cameras are effectively free

Does it mean that ‘middle-ground’, jack-of-all-trades products that try to seek a compromised middle ground will eventually have no place in the market? What are some of the other products that failed (or will fail) because they inherently always try to appease everybody, especially if designed-by-committee without a clear vision?

Planets as Notes

What if our solar system was a musical system – whenever a planet passes a point it makes a sound? SolarBeat by White Vinyl:

Design Currency

Love this video from Icograda – design currency:

I thought it was a CG computer-fakery, but as it turns out:

The theme of Design Currency 2010 is ‘Defining the Value of Design’. To promote the event and play off the ideas of currency and value, we designed and printed over 2200 custom bills and fed them through a money counter to create this animation.

Taurus Concept – Segway on Steroids

In a nut shell, the Taurus pictured above (designed by Erik Lanuza) is Segway-on-Steroids. Utilizing the same principle of gyroscopic balance (lean-forward-to-move, etc.), it is a lot sexier, and the design probably takes away a lot of the dorky-stigma that still plaques the original Segway.
And it got me pondering.
The Segway was very intentionally designed (based on the book Code Name Ginger which catalogs the design/development process) to look:
1) Unlike a transportation
The whole ‘revolutionary’ idea behind Segway was to look unlike a vehicle. If it looked like a vehicle, there’d be problems getting cities to permit it running on sidewalks. People would need licenses to drive/operate them. It’d be a lot less spontaneous to get on a Segway and roll down that sidewalk.
2) Not fast; perhaps to look almost meek, even
If it looked like it’s anything fast, sleek or sporty, everybody would claim it’d endanger (pedestrian) lives. Licenses and helmets become mandatory. The idea is to just portray a very neutral design that doesn’t look like it has untamed power underneath the hood.
3) Occupy minimum footprint
One of the rules-of-thumb in developing the Segway was that it shouldn’t exceed the footprint of a person’s shoulder – thus its current shape, which means that basically anywhere someone can go, the Segway should be able to fit. Office corridors, stairs, alleys, etc.
So, given:
– Designs like the Taurus above is a lot sexier. I’d love to get on it and zoom around, and be seen on it.
– Designs like the Taurus above, is a lot like a vehicle. It uses Segway-style technology, but it’s way too vehicular to adhere to Segway’s original “Personal Transporter” vision. It’s more like a motorbike.
– Designs like the original Segway, makes people label others using it as dorks, geeks, nerds.
How’d designers approach this tricky problem? Is the original Segway vision of an upright personal transporter that navigates sidewalks and office corridors a lost cause – no matter what you do, there’s no removing of that gloating-geek stigma?
Or is there some way to extract elements of the coolness in design from concepts like Taurus and apply it (in a deft way that defy looking dangerous to city council officials)?

Open Forum/Talk: Designing Designers

[Edit/Note: This event is postponed to Apr 23 instead.]

Calling Singapore-based design students and young designers: you might want to mark your calendar for Philips Senior Design Manager Brian Ling – perhaps more familiar to most of you as the man behind Design Sojourn – will be hosting a talk/forum/discussion on April 9th at Feng Zhu School of Design. Get some tips, ask some questions, get to know people … there’s always something to learn and improve on!

RSVP by April 3rd to or +65 63349258.

Olympic Logo through the Ages

Just found this video from a month back where designer Steven Heller gives a commentary on the series/evolution of Olympic pictogram designs through the years:

Gotta agree with him on almost all of it personally!

OK GO Rube Goldberg

There are Rube Goldberg setups, and then there’s this:

I’m not sure if it’s already in some sort of record book for the sheer scale of it – just look at the size of the warehouse, and the variety of contraptions of all sizes…madness! No wonder it’s speeding its way around the web like wild fire…

Health Supplement Effectiveness

We’ve often heard about the latest health supplements – how having this particular element or food or vitamin or extract or natural herb or this or that can drastically improve an aspect of our health. David McCandless and Andy Perkins take it upon themselves to try to sort through exactly what is proven useful vs. their popularity and put it down to a bubbly chart above.

Navigate here to see the bigger and animated version!

India-Pakistan Border Closing

The border-closing ceremony at Wagah (between India and Pakistan) has probably been around for quite a while, though it’s only recently that I’ve came upon this interesting video documenting the daily ritual of shutting the borders. Peacocking around with much fanfare and exaggerated stomping and marching, guards from both sides engage in what is probably the world’s most entertaining (bizarre?) ritual in border-administration.

From Wikipedia:

The Wagah border often called the “Berlin wall of Asia”, is a ceremonial border on India–Pakistan Border, where each evening, there is a retreat ceremony called ‘lowering of the flags’. At that time there is a very energetic and thrilling parade by the Border Security Force (B.S.F), India and the Pakistan Rangerssoldiers. It may appear slightly aggressive and even hostile to foreigners, but it really is just spectacular entertainment for the crowds with grandstands having been built on both sides. Troops of each country put on quite an entertaining show in their uniforms with their colorful turbans. Border officials from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. The happenings at this border post have been a barometer of the India-Pakistan relations over the years.

Certainly more than your average passport stamping!